There is always complaining going on about the schedule. A few years ago, Alabama was complaining about every team they played having a bye week before them. Last year, Spurrier complained about his team’s difficult schedule and Georgia’s easy one. This year, Les Miles is complaining about LSU having to play the top two teams from the East and Alabama and Texas AM& not.
This year, there shouldn’t be a complaint about the top teams having a grueling grind. Now, SEC football is different-the lower teams are still physically superior than most other places. But the top teams by and large have tune up games or a bye week before their biggest matchups. There are a few exceptions.
As far as the difficult schedule, it is all cyclical. It probably breaks even after a while.
Here is how the 2013 schedule fares for the most relevant 8 teams in the conference.
As we’ve heard, the schedule sets up well for Alabama. Not only do they avoid the 3 big teams from the SEC East, they have favorable timing. They have all preseason to prepare for Virginia Tech and bye weeks before LSU and Texas A&M. Their other two toughest games-Ole Miss and Iron Bowl-they get tune up games the week before. Oh, and they get LSU at home.
LSU’s schedule is slightly tougher as they have a tough grind September 28-October 19, playing at UGA, at Mississippi State, Florida, and at Ole Miss in consecutive weeks. Then, they have to play at Alabama and then Texas A&M. Fortunately, though, LSU has a tune up game before Alabama and bye week before Texas A&M.
Texas A&M has a favorable schedule. They replace Florida from the East with Vanderbilt (and get them at home). The Aggies have a bye week before LSU and two gimmie games to start the season before hosting Alabama. They can basically prepare all offseason for the Crimson Tide (apologies to Rice and Sam Houston State, but come on).
Ole Miss has a tough beginning of the season with a Thursday night opener against Vandy, then a mean 6 week stretch starting September 14. They go to Texas to play a hopefully improved Longhorns team, have a bye, then go to Alabama, to Auburn, then host Texas A&M and LSU in back to back weeks.
We all know that Georgia has a tough opening month of September. At Clemson then hosting South Carolina. Fortunately, the Dawgs have a bye and tune up with North Texas before hosting LSU then the crucial bye week before Florida.
Arkansas has nasty 4 game stretch beginning September 28. They host Texas A&M, go to Florida, host South Carolina and Alabama all in back to back weeks. Bret Bielema, that ain’t no Big 10 schedule there son. Welcome South, brother.
Florida fortunately has tune ups before the tricky interstate non-conference games with Miami and Florida State, a bye before UGA, Vandy before South Carolina.. If I were a Florida fan (thank goodness I am not), I would be concerned about Arkansas and LSU in back to back weeks. Looking at Arkansas’ run, their only winnable game in their 4 game stretch would be the Florida game. Not sure what improvements Bielema will bring to the Razorbacks, but Florida better not look past Arkansas before their big tilt against LSU.
South Carolina has to open up against UNC and then travels to Georgia before hosting Vanderbilt to start the season. Vandy has been able to give the Gamecocks fits, so I guess they should watch out for that one but the rest of their schedule fares pretty well. They have to travel to Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri in consecutive weeks, but they get Arkansas in the middle of their bad stretch so that should be good. They get a bye prior to Florida and a tune up prior to Clemson.